For many years now, I have heard people claim to know someone when in reality they actually only know of them. There has always seemed to be a lot of confusion surrounding the two, so I thought that today I would clarify that for you and tell you what the difference is between knowing someone and knowing of someone...
Let's take school as an example here, because I feel that this is quite an easy example to start you off with. I often hear many people say that they know someone whenever someone else mentions their name and when asked how they know them, that person says they know them because they went to school together. Does this mean that they really know them? Possibly, if they are still friends with that person or at the very least have regularly spoken to them over the past year. But do we really know the people we went to school with and haven't spoken to since? I guess that depends on when you left school. For example, I left school almost five years ago, and if I'm frank, I no longer speak to anyone I was at school with. No matter how close I was in the past to any of those people, I would say that I don't know them anymore and that I only know of them. I say this because no matter at what point I last had a proper conversation with those people, it wasn't within the last year and therefore I cannot really know them anymore. If you're still confused, let me explain a little further...
I would say that if you haven't seen someone in the past year, or at the very least haven't had regular, proper conversations with them, you no longer know that person and you only know of them. Funnily enough, people can change quite a lot in a year, sometimes for good and sometimes for bad, especially when you're young. It would be wrong of me to claim I know exactly what a person is like if I haven't seen or spoken to them properly in over a year because I could then be painting a false idea of what someone is like, again, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. Sometimes you might have this idea in your head that someone is a bad person because of what they were like in school when in actual fact they have since turned a corner and are now a good person. On the other side of that, you might have this idea in your head that someone is a good person due to how they were in school, however since then they have gone down the wrong path and are now not a good person.
I do wholeheartedly believe that you cannot always know a person, no matter how much you think you do. Even with people who I once considered close friends, I don't think they ever truly knew me as I would often keep a lot of stuff about myself hidden from them because I was ashamed of those things (such as the state of my mental health - although that is NOTHING to be ashamed of and I know that now) and neither did my family, however, they still know/knew me better than most people who could claim to know me.
This doesn't just apply to people you knew in school, but also to those people you meet from all walks of life. People you meet in your career, on holiday, at the pub, wherever that might be, it applies to pretty much everyone you have ever met, even those people you still see regularly. For example, you may work with someone but you perhaps only ever talk about work stuff or possibly may even never talk to one another other than the odd hello. I would say in this case, you can only know of that person because you don't really know them other than their name and the job they do and possibly one or two other tiny details.
I don't believe that in order to know someone you have to know every single detail about them right down to the socks they wear, because people don't even necessarily know that much about the partner they've been with for a number of years. My rule of thumb, as I've said above, is that unless I've seen or spoken to someone in detail within the last year, I only know of them. It's very easy for me to say that I know people who I used to be friends with, but in reality, I haven't spoken to them in over a year so I only know of them. I guess it's really down to you to make your own judgement on this, but can you hand on heart say that you really know someone if you haven't seen or spoken to them in that amount of time? I think not.
I'd be very interested to know what you think about this situation, so if you'd like to leave me a little comment down below (or don't, I can't tell you what to do), then please feel free to do so.
What do you think is the difference between knowing someone and knowing of them?
Love Beth xx